Dec 20, 2016

A Simple Way To Find Stray Pixels in Photoshop

If you work in Photoshop or something similar you know what an advantage it is to keep different elements of your art on different layers. This allows you to add, subtract, resize, or move elements in your scene around, or remove the background altogether.

Since I've been doing more digital art I'm also doing more art where the subject can separated from the background scene and saved as a PNG file with transparency. This is useful for putting the image on products, particularly things like t-shirts and coffee mugs where you don't want a square photo-like picture on the product.

One of the things to keep in mind when creating images for shirts, and some other products, is there is no such thing as white ink. So when the printing company puts an image that contains white or light colors onto a dark shirt they have to put a white undercoating down first, then spray the darker colors over it where the image is not going to be white. They put the white coating down based on the pixels in your image so if your image doesn't have clean edges you may get a white outline or stray white spots outside the main image. So it's important to find any stray pixels or jagged edges and clean them up.

These stray pixels can occur without you realizing it, if you accidentally bump your brush against your drawing tablet when using a light color or lower opacity. Or perhaps you erase part of the image. It might look like you got it all but even 1 tiny mostly transparent pixel will cause a white undercoat to be laid down there on your shirt or other product. Finding that tiny pixel can be hard just by eye-balling the image. So here's a quick little trick to bring those little guys out of hiding.

Here's my original image, one of a silly chicken in a Santa hat I created for Christmas stockings and shirts. It looks pretty clean outside the edges, right?

Well, looks are deceiving. I know it's not that clean in reality because I created this from another image, moving the chicken's head a bit and erasing the old part of the head and neck. I'm sure there are pixels that I missed that need cleaning up. But I can't see them. So what we do to bring them out is right-click on the layer in the Layers panel and select Blending Options. In the panel that pops up go down to the bottom and select Stroke. Play with the size until you can see spots appearing outside the edges of your image, but don't make it so big it covers small pixels near the edge. Pick a color that's different from your image edges so you can see it better. Here's what I get with mine.

As suspected, there are stray pixels around the hen's neck where I didn't quite erase it all when adjusting the bird's head position. I need to clean those up so they don't produce spots when printed on dark fabric. To do that I just use the eraser tool and dab those spots. The nice thing about the Stroke blending option is that, as you erase the pixels, the Stroke outline will disappear too, letting you know you got it all. (Don't use the Stroke under the Edit menu for won't the same results.) Here's the chicken with edges cleaned up.

When you get your image all cleaned up right-click on the layer in your Layers panel and select Clear Layer Style. Now it's back to how it appeared originally but you know you've cleaned up any stray pixels so you'll have a nice clean print on your shirts and products.

And here's my chicken on a "Merry Chickmas from your local chicken farmer" shirt.

Dec 17, 2016

New Website for Cartoon Art

To keep my realistic style and my cartoony style art separate, I've created a new website off my domain dedicated to just my cute and fun art. I've also created a new Zazzle store for products featuring this artwork. This site will display and link to products in that new Zazzle store. Because there are already hundreds of products in that store I can't display them all on my new website so I'm focusing on t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, etc. There will be a link below each image that will take you to the apparel section of the store to see all the sizes, colors, and styles available. There will be another link below that which will take you to all the products featuring that artwork which could include all sorts of accessories, such as tote bags, and home decor such as throw pillow. Lots of stuff to choose from! So check out the new website and store and let me know what you think by leaving feedback in the comments section here.

 So far I have my comical chickens, cartoony horse, cute baby dinosaurs, seasonal Christmas stuff, and funny football art up, with more to come. Here are a few samples of what's there.

Dec 11, 2016

New Cute Cartoon Style Baby Dinosaurs

I've been experimenting with a new more playful style of art that would be more appealing to small children. Some of my first images I'll share are of a cute baby dinosaur. Kids love dinosaurs! This little dino comes in several colors, including a pink one with longer eyelashes for little girls.

In addition to the baby dino I have a little older looking kid version. These work great together for siblings such as these shirts I designed for little and big brothers. These are purple to work for girls or boys or brother/sister combos. But I also have pink and blue versions for those who prefer the more traditional colors.

The previous shirts are, obviously, for siblings of different ages. But I also made some for twins. Blue for identical twin boys, pink for identical twin girls, a pink and blue for fraternal twins, and a green version for a non gender specific version. Keep in mind these are all customizable so personalize it with your own children's names, or remove or add whatever text you wish. There are also several styles to choose from including long sleeved shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, and tank tops. There are also shirts and onesies for toddlers and babies.

Then there is, of course, a single dinosaur for the individual child.

Besides shirts, there are plenty of other products featuring the various dinos, including some with baseball caps and Santa hats. These little dinosaurs have already been selling well in my Zazzle store on products ranging from baby blankets to school backpacks. One of the most popular sellers this time of year, not surprisingly, is the version with a Santa hat on Christmas stockings.

Although this baby dino is a sauropod, I plan to make some other kinds of cute baby dinos, such as triceratops and stegosaurus. So if you (or your kids) like dinosaurs check back for new kinds soon. In the mean time, check out all the products I currently have featuring these dinos in my Zazzle Store.

Dec 8, 2016

New Birds and Snowman Painting

Just in time for the holiday season, I finished up a new painting of a cheerful Christmas snowman and his bird friends, a red cardinal and a pair of chickadees. Prints, greeting cards, tote bags, throw pillows, t-shirts and more are available featuring this artwork. I hope you like it. Enjoy!

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Dec 1, 2016

Wildlife Greeting Card Sale

Just in time for the Christmas holidays I've lowered my Pixels/FineArtAmerica greeting card prices by up to 40% for all images! Of course, at these time of year the greeting cards you're most likely to be interested in features artwork with a Christmas theme. Here are some of those images. Click an image below and then select Greeting Cards from the drop down menu on the right to choose your card options. You can buy any greeting card as a single card, or in packs of 10 or 25. You get a better price per card with the packs. You can order blank cards or have them printed with your own personalized greeting inside.

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Nov 30, 2016

My Art in New Guide to Coloring Book

I was surprised to get a package recently from Fox Chapel Publishing. As you may recall from a previous post, I had completed a coloring book for Fox Chapel featuring the 50 state birds and flowers. I did not know they were going to include one of the images from that book in their other new book, New Guide to Coloring. So I was pleasantly surprised to get some samples of this book!

Here's a picture of the page that has my artwork, the chickadee you see in the upper right corner. This is a colored-in version from the 50 state birds and flowers coloring book for the state of Maine, the chickadee and the white pine cone. Yes, a cone is technically a "flower" of a pine tree, even though we don't think of them as flowers in the usual sense. :)

This is a nice book with high quality paper, print, and binding, and lots of good tips and suggestions for coloring. If you know someone who likes to color, please consider giving them this book and/or my Birds at Home 50 state birds and flowers coloring book for Christmas. They are the perfect size for stocking stuffers! And thank you for helping support an artist when doing your shopping this holiday season. :)

Nov 5, 2016

More Shirts For Horse Lovers

In a previous post I shared some shirts featuring my horse paintings that you can now buy on Amazon. Since then I've had some more horse shirts accepted so I wanted to share all the horse shirts I now have available on Amazon. The first one here, the Friesian horse, is my best seller so far. But it's also been on Amazon the longest so we'll see how the others do as time goes on. :)

The next two shirts are tied for second place best sellers, my western quarter horse in sepia, and my seal brown warmblood dressage horse.

And here are some color versions of the western sorrel quarter horse.

And, finally, my most recent addition, a bay Hanoverian horse.

All these shirts come in several colors and size options, and are available in men's, women's, and youth styles. With Christmas just around the corner, consider giving one of these shirts as a gift for the horse lover you know!

Nov 1, 2016

Gift Ideas for Artists

People are already starting to think about Christmas shopping. Artists are easy to buy presents for. We're always using up our paints, canvases, and even brushes. Yes, no matter how careful we are cleaning our brushes, they eventually just wear out or get too much dried paint in them to work well anymore. And they're expensive! So artists will always appreciate a nice set of brushes. Here's a sampling of some gift ideas for artists.

New Virginia State Bird Products & Gifts

In a previous post I shared some new artwork featuring the Virginia State Bird & Flower, the red cardinal and the flowering dogwood. Well, now this image is available on all sorts of products. If you know someone who lives in, or loves, the state of Virginia, consider giving them one of these unique and customizable gifts. You can customize all these products to add names, dates, change the background color, or even your own images of friends and family, to really personalize them. Here are just a few samples of items available featuring this artwork. Click here to see all the Virginia State Bird products in my Zazzle Store.

Oct 26, 2016

State Birds and Flowers Now Available On Amazon Shirts

All four of my recent state birds and flowers artworks have passed review and processing on Amazon and are now available for purchase from Amazon! While some of you know I created artwork for all 50 states for my coloring book that was just released this month, I also am making borderless versions that work better on t-shirts and other products. The 4 t-shirt variations I have made so far are:

California: The Valley Quail & Golden Poppy
North Carolina: The Red Cardinal & Flowering Dogwood
Texas: The Mockingbird & Texas Bluebonnet Lupine
Virginia: The Red Cardinal & Flowering Dogwood

Here they are on shirts you can order with your existing Amazon account. They are all available in several sizes and colors, in men's, women's, and youth styles. Click on the shirt of your choice to see all options.

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